Journal of Arid Land


This paper, based on the analysis and calculation of the groundwater resources in an arid region from 1980 to 2001, put forward the concept of ecological groundwater level threshold for either salinity control or the determination of ecological warning. The surveys suggest that soil moisture and soil salinity are the most important environmental factors in determining the distribution and changes in vegetation. The groundwater level threshold of ecological warning can be determined by using a network of groundwater depth observation sites that monitor the environmental moisture gradient as reflected by plant physiological characteristics. According to long-term field observations within the Ejin oases, the groundwater level threshold for salinity control varied between 0.5 m and 1.5 m, and the ecological warning threshold varied between 3.5 m and 4.0 m. The quantity of groundwater resources (renewable water resources, ecological water resources, and exploitable water resources) in arid areas can be calculated from regional groundwater level information, without localized hydrogeological data. The concept of groundwater level threshold of ecological warning was established according to water development and water resources supply, and available groundwater resources were calculated. The concept not only enriches and broadens the content of groundwater studies, but also helps in predicting the prospects for water resources development.

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